Kangaroo Jack

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Kangaroo Jack
A kangaroo wearing sunglasses and red Brooklyn hoodie
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid McNally
Produced byJerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byTrevor Rabin
CinematographyPeter Menzies Jr.
Edited by
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • January 17, 2003 (2003-01-17) (United States)
  • May 16, 2003 (2003-05-16) (United Kingdom)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million
Box office$88.9 million

Kangaroo Jack is a 2003 comedy film from Warner Bros., written by Steve Bing, Barry O'Brien and Scott Rosenberg, directed by David McNally, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer with music by Trevor Rabin and starring Jerry O'Connell, Anthony Anderson, Christopher Walken, Estella Warren, and Adam Garcia in an uncredited role as Kangaroo Jack. Kangaroo Jack was theatrically released on January 17, 2003.

The film was panned by critics, who criticized the acting, directing and writing, especially for a family film, and false advertising. It received a rating of 8% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $88.1 million on a $60 million budget. Kangaroo Jack was released on DVD and VHS on June 24, 2003 by Warner Home Video. An animated sequel titled Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.! was produced and released on video in 2004.


In 1982 Brooklyn, a boy named Charlie Carbone is about to become the stepson of a mobster named Salvatore Maggio. The mobster's juvenile delinquent apprentice, Frankie Lombardo, tries to drown Charlie, but a boy named Louis Booker saves him and they become best friends.

Twenty years later, in 2002, Charlie now runs his own beauty salon and Louis still remains his best friend, but Sal's henchmen take a majority of the salon's profits, leaving Charlie very little for improvements. After they botch the job of hiding some stolen television sets, resulting in the discovery of Sal's warehouse and the arrest of at least one of his men, Sal gives Charlie and Louis one more chance. Under instructions from Frankie, they are to deliver a package to a man named "Mr. Smith" in Coober Pedy, Australia. Frankie also warns them against opening the package "under any circumstances" and that should they run into any trouble, to call Mr. Smith at the phone number he gives them. Unknown to Charlie and Louis, however, Sal tells his Capo that he is "canceling their return trip."

On the plane, Louis opens the package, against Frankie's warnings, to find $50,000 in cash. Upon landing in Australia, they rent a Land Cruiser and head to Mr. Smith. Along their way, they accidentally run over a red kangaroo. Thinking it is dead, Louis puts his "lucky jacket" on the kangaroo and with Charlie's sunglasses to pose for photographs as a joke, as he thinks the kangaroo looks like "Jackie Legs", one of Sal's henchmen from Canarsie. The kangaroo then suddenly regains consciousness and hops away with one problem; the $50,000 was in the jacket. Charlie and Louis get into their car and try to reclaim the money from the jacket on the kangaroo, but the ensuing chase ends with the duo crashing through a field of termite mounds and then into a pile of rocks, wrecking the car.

At a pub in Alice Springs, Louis manages to call Mr. Smith and tries to explain their situation. Mr. Smith, however, thinks they stole his package and threatens to kill Louis and Charlie, telling him that they had better have the money ready when he meets them, or he'll "chop them into snags and feed them to the crocodiles"; he then plans to find them himself. Back in New York City, Sal gets the call from Mr. Smith saying that Charlie and Louis haven't arrived; Sal then sends Frankie and some men to Australia to investigate.

Meanwhile, Charlie and Louis attempt to reclaim the money from the kangaroo by shooting it with a tranquilizer dart from a biplane. The attempt fails when Louis accidentally shoots Blue the pilot and strands the duo in the desert. They spend many hours wandering in the desert, during which Charlie hallucinates about a jeep, and they soon meet a woman from the Outback Wildlife Foundation called Jessie, who Louis previously met in Alice Springs. Thinking she is only a mirage, Charlie sexually harasses her and she knocks him out with her canteen. While unconscious, Charlie dreams about meeting a speaking, rapping version of the kangaroo, while Sal and Louis mock him in kangaroo forms. The following day, the trio then track the kangaroo at the nearby Todd valley and try again to catch it with bolas, but Louis accidentally botches their attempt when a swarm of ants crawls up his pants. While waiting for the next opportunity to catch the kangaroo, Charlie begins developing feelings for Jessie, which she claims not to return at first, but he senses that she is lying.

The next day, Mr. Smith and his henchmen arrive and capture the trio. Charlie and Louis turn the tables and outsmart them, only to find Frankie has tracked them and is prepared to kill them. Just as he is about to, however, the kangaroo suddenly returns, causing a fist fight between the two villainous factions. The distraction allows Charlie, Louis, and Jessie to escape on their camels. A final three-way chase ensues, with Charlie, Louis and Jessie chasing after the kangaroo while being pursued by Frankie and his goons. Louis finally manages to retrieve the money from the kangaroo but ends up nearly falling down a cliff and is narrowly saved by Charlie and Jessie. After getting the money back, they learn from Frankie that Sal really sent them to Australia to pay for their own execution at the hands of Mr. Smith. Out of nowhere, the police force led by an undercover cop Mr./Sgt. Jimmy Inkamale arrive and arrest Frankie, Mr. Smith, and their respective henchmen. Charlie and Louis call each other true friends, and Charlie reclaims Louis' lucky jacket from the kangaroo, who hops away with his family.

One year later, Charlie and Jessie are married and have used Sal's $50,000 to start a line of new hair care products bearing a kangaroo logo, and Louis has become Charlie's advertising partner. Frankie, Mr. Smith, and their men have been imprisoned for life as will Sal, having failed at using his high-level connections to avoid arrest and a trial. The kangaroo, now called "Kangaroo Jack", is still happily living in the outback. Now able to speak again, Jack explains why the film should end with him and closes it with his version of Porky Pig's famous catchphrase: "That's all, blokes!"



Initially the film was titled Down and Under and was shot as an R-rated mob comedy in the style of Midnight Run.[2] The film was shot in Australia in August 2001, and originally included cursing, sex, and violence, and only one scene with a kangaroo. However, when the film's producers saw the first rough cut, they realized that it wasn't working as expected.[3] Inspired by positive response to the kangaroo scene in early test screenings, as well as the marketing campaign behind the recently released Snow Dogs, the production shifted the marketing focus away from that of a dark mafia comedy to that of a family-friendly animal picture. Extensive new footage that replaced the animatronic kangaroo with a new CGI one that rapped was shot, and the film was edited down to a PG-rated family animal comedy.[4] Several of the film's actors, including stars Jerry O'Connel and Anthony Anderson, were unaware of these new changes until after the film's release.[citation needed] Even though Adam Garcia voiced Kangaroo Jack, he was not credited for the role.


Theatrical release[edit]

Kangaroo Jack was theatrically released on January 17, 2003 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Home media[edit]

Kangaroo Jack was released on DVD and VHS on June 24, 2003 by Warner Home Video.


Critical response and box office[edit]

The film was released on January 17, 2003 and grossed $16,580,209 over the 3-day MLK opening weekend, and $21,895,483 over the 4-day MLK weekend, ranking No. 1 that weekend. It grossed $66,934,963 at the North American domestic box office and $21,994,148 internationally for a worldwide total of $88,929,111.

While Kangaroo Jack performed well at the box office, it was met with eminently scathing reviews from critics and audiences. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 8% based on 115 reviews, with an average score of 1.5/10. The site's consensus states, "The humor is gratingly dumb, and Kangaroo Jack contains too much violence and sexual innuendo for a family movie."[5] On Metacritic, the film holds a 16 out of 100 based 25 reviews, meaning “overwhelming dislike”. Joe McGovern in the Village Voice described Kangaroo Jack as "witless" and stated "The colorless script...seems to have written itself from a patchwork of Wile E. Coyote cartoons, camel farts, and every high-pitched Aussie cliché to have echoed on these shores".[6] Nathan Rabin, reviewing the film for The A.V. Club, remarked "Kangaroo Jack's premise, trailer, and commercials promise little more than the spectacle of two enthusiastic actors being kicked over and over again by a sassy, computer-animated kangaroo—and, sadly, the film fails to deliver even that."[7] Gary Slaymaker in the British newspaper The Western Mail said "Kangaroo Jack is the most witless, pointless, charmless drivel unleashed on an unsuspecting public".[8]


For their performances, Anthony Anderson and Christopher Walken were both nominated for Worst Supporting Actor at the 2004 Golden Raspberry Awards, but they lost to Sylvester Stallone for Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. The Australian newspaper The Age included Kangaroo Jack on its list of "worst films ever made".[9]

Organization Year Award Category Nominee Result
Kids' Choice Awards 2004 Blimp Award Favorite Fart in a Movie Anthony Anderson Won
MTV Movie Awards 2003 MTV Movie Award Best Virtual Performance "Kangaroo Jack" Nominated
Razzie Awards 2004 Razzie Award Worst Supporting Actor Christopher Walken Nominated
Anthony Anderson Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2003 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Comedy Anthony Anderson Nominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards 2003 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Supporting Actress Estella Warren Nominated


The soundtrack was released by Hip-O Records on January 14, 2003.

  1. DJ Ötzi - "Hey Baby"
  2. Sugababes - "Round Round"
  3. Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"
  4. Lucia - "So Clever"
  5. Paulina Rubio - "Casanova"
  6. Shaggy - "Hey Sexy Lady"
  7. Shawn Desman - "Spread My Wings"
  8. Lil' Romeo - "2-Way"
  9. The Wiseguys - "Start the Commotion"
  10. The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight"
  11. Men at Work - "Down Under"
  12. The Dude - "Rock Da Juice"


An animated sequel, Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.!, was released direct-to-video on November 16, 2004.


  1. ^ KANGAROO JACK (2002)
  2. ^ "DVDTalk". dvdtalk.com.
  3. ^ "Jerry O'Connell Looks Back on His Worst Movie, 'Kangaroo Jack'". Vice. Vice.
  4. ^ Patrick, Goldstien (January 28, 2003). "How 'Jack' hopped away with a PG rating". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Kangaroo Jack (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Joe McGovern, "Kangaroo Jack". Village Voice. January 18, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  7. ^ Nathan Rabin, "Kangaroo Jack". The A.V. Club. January 27, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  8. ^ Gary Slaymaker, The Western Mail, May 16, 2003, (p.2)
  9. ^ Lawrie Zion, "Home Movies". The Age, September 11, 2003. (p.7)

External links[edit]